Why Senior Kindergarten at St. Timothy's?
Our youngest students enter the Senior Kindergarten classroom eagerly ready for their day. They have just finished morning chapel, joining the rest of the students of St. Timothy’s for hymns, scripture, and prayers. Once back in their classroom the SKs say their morning prayer together, asking to see what’s beautiful, to know what is true, and to love what is good. So how do we teach our youngest to soak up the truth, beauty, and goodness we pray for each morning?
We begin by surrounding our kindergarten students with opportunities to engage in activities that promote goodness, truth, and beauty. For example, one of our first activities each morning is listening to and reciting poetry. Kindergarten is a wonderful time to begin memorizing the rhyme, rhythm, and beautiful words of poetry. The children truly delight in committing poems to memory and reciting their favourites at the beginning of their day. During story times, they also take great pleasure listening to many well-told and beautifully illustrated books, whether a carefully chosen fairytale, an ancient fable, or a whimsical adventure.
One way that the class sees what is beautiful is through a daily nature walk around the school, where they observe everything growing and changing around them. As they learn to be attentive to creation, it’s wonderful to see them begin to marvel at their discoveries. It is not unusual for a child to gasp in wonder as he stops to pick up something of interest, whether it be a small creature hiding under a rock or a baby snail, and then to call the others to gather around to take a quick look. There is also a nature table in the classroom with an ever-changing display of lovely objects for the children to closely observe and delight in.
The students hear beauty as they listen quietly and carefully to classical music each day. They also see beauty as they are introduced to masterpieces by different artists. There is a weekly art lesson where the SK children learn to use a variety of media and techniques and come to realize that they too can be artists!
Kindergarten is a time for creating a firm foundation of math and reading skills that will be built upon in later years. Reading is taught using a phonics approach where students learn the letter sounds and then blend these sounds to read and write simple words in preparation for Grade 1. Time is spent each day learning to print letters and numbers neatly and correctly. During math time, the children use concrete manipulatives for developing strong counting, patterning, geometry, and measurement skills.
The small class size of St. Timothy’s kindergarten program allows us to really know and cultivate each child’s strengths and unique personality so that they might begin to flourish academically, socially, and spiritually. Gentle guidance helps them develop good habits such as respectfully waiting for others, looking after their belongings, and using polite and kind words. By giving kindergarten students opportunities to embrace all of these new experiences at St. Timothy’s, we allow them to be naturally drawn to what is beautiful, true, and good.
Mrs. Alison Nanda has been teaching Senior Kindergarten at St. Timothy's for 14 years. Her love of God's creation, the arts, and giving our youngest students a solid foundation, not only in academics, but also in their faith, habits, and character, has gently shaped so many children over her years at St. Timothy's.